Global Young Designer Spotlight: Bonnie Fechter

Global Young Designer Spotlight: Bonnie Fechter

Bonnie Fechter reimagines the social framework of fashion and the definition of a designer. In doing so, they create a series of collectable pieces. After a successful first collaboration, we got together with the founders to hear more about their backgrounds, and all else that’s to come for the promising young company.



With
collaboration at it’s core, the new conceptual project
Bonnie
Fechter
does away with fashion protocol. It rids itself of
restrictive labels such as genders and seasons and instead revolves
around the results of creative partnerships. Each collection
produced reflects a rare quality of thoughtfulness that emerges
from the contrast and fusion of ideas and aesthetics.

In its first collection, Bonnie Fechter pairs with Studio
C&C
, a south London art and design
studio to present True Grafters, a capsule collection of unisex
basics. Studio C&C brings its background in graphics to the
table while the designers at Bonnie Fechter focus on producing
locally sourced, timeless looks, unsusceptible to the short
lifespan of trends.

True Grafters merges these separate entities seamlessly. The
result is a collection of oversized, boxy shapes with meticulously
executed details that place a subtle emphasis on craft. Contrasting
seams, raw edges, grainy textures, and simple graphics elevate the
pieces and help accomplish the designers’ goals of opposing
fast-fashion.

Bonnie Fechter reimagines the social framework of fashion and
the definition of a designer. In doing so, they create a series of
collectable pieces. After a successful first collaboration, we got
together with the founders to hear more about their backgrounds,
their partnership with Studio C&C and all else that’s to come
for the promising young company.


Name

Bonnie Fechter

Designers

Sarah and Rosie

Origin

Scotland

Homebase

London

Type of brand

We’re a unisex and season-less brand that believes in slow
fashion and collaboration.

Where can we find you:

At our studio in south London, riding around town on our bikes,
or eating dumplings at Silk Road.



Who is the ideal Bonnie Fechter customer?

Anyone fun and adventurous.

Why is being a unisex brand important to you?

We both wear men’s clothing as much as women’s, so we wanted to
draw on our similarities rather than our differences. People should
be able to wear anything they want to without feeling limited.
Bonnie Fechter offers clothing without the restrictions of a
label.

Breaking away from the practices of fast fashion, you produce
everything within the UK. Can you explain where your materials come
from and where the different parts of the design process
happen?

We do everything we can out of our London studio, from the
design process to fabric sourcing, cutting and sampling. Anything
that we can’t do here we find somewhere we can as locally as
possible.

Why was creating a locally sourced and designed label important
to you?

Taking back responsibility for the clothes we make was really
important to us. We wanted to be able to work with people face to
face rather than always over the phone or email. It allows you to
be more creative and free in the way you work. We follow each piece
from start to finish so we know the footprint it leaves behind, and
we get to know the people that we work with very well. Clothing is
so personal and we wanted to make the process that way too.

What challenges do you face with this decision?

It’s hard to ignore the added costs of keeping things local,
especially production. However, one of the biggest difficulties has
been trying to slow things down. In an industry that is so fast
paced, setting up meetings face to face is often harder than
sending an email as everyone is so busy.



Why did you decide not to release new collections according to
season?

We wanted to be free to work with people who aren’t dictated by
the seasonal calendar, therefore choosing to work by project. There
are now so many seasons to buy into that people think this marks
the longevity of a piece of clothing. Things shouldn’t go out of
fashion as quickly as you are made to believe they do; fashion
should be an individual’s opinion.

If not by season, how do you plan on releasing the following
collections? How often do you expect for new items to come
out?

We will aim to work on two projects a year, but it could be more
or less depending on who we find to work with and the opportunities
that are out there. We just started working on our next project
with a London based fine artist that is going to offer something
completely different to what we’ve done before. Alongside the
collaborations there will always be a core offering of products.
There will be essential pieces to rely on, but that we will develop
and add to over time.

How did growing up in rural Scotland affect your design
practices?

We are both country people at heart and need to be reacquainted
with nature every now and then to keep a clear mind. Growing up on
a farm you are not overpowered with constant imagery the way you
are in a city. It allows you to form more of your own opinions of
what you think is beautiful – clothing or not.

How does it continue to influence your work?

The landscape and slower pace of life are constant sources of
inspiration. It’s so important to remain true to your own opinion.
You have to have a voice in what you do, otherwise you will get
lost in a world that is already saturated.

In three words, describe your first collection.

Collaborative, relaxed and tactile.



What is the meaning behind the title of your first collection,
True Grafters?

It’s a recognition of all the people we know who work so hard to
be able to do what they want to do. You can’t get anywhere far
without grafting.

Where did you find inspiration?

True Grafters was inspired by the landscape we grew up on in
Scotland and the people we spend our days with in London. The
contrast of lifestyles offered something inspiring.

You collaborated with Studio Calm & Collected. How did this
collaboration come to being?

They are close friends and have been so supportive of Bonnie
Fechter from the beginning. We always wanted to work on a project
together, even before launching the brand, so it made sense to
start out with them.

Why Studio C&C?

They focus on collaboration as a studio and always come up with
new solutions and original responses to the briefs they work on.
They had never worked with fabric before so that in itself was a
great starting point. The graphics that they created went through
so many processes before they hit the cloth you have no idea! Their
attention to detail is amazing.



Do you have any ideas for your next collaboration?

We’re already working on our next collab with a great London
based fine artist and muse. It’s an exciting mix and a completely
new starting point.

How do you plan on unifying different collaborations under one
label?

The defining features of the brand will always remain the same,
but, as with any label, each collection will come alive in
different ways. The artist in a sense dictates the change of the
aesthetic – just as a season would.

What advice do you have for other young designers?

Don’t be afraid to bend the rules or break tradition… Go with
your gut and don’t be swayed by other people’s opinions if it is
not true to your own.

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